You’ll be hard pressed to find any long distance journey where none of the passengers are reading a thriller. This type of novel – packed with suspense, tension and excitement – has become a staple of literature over the past 100 years, with crime thrillers, political thrillers, mystery, psychological and paranoid thrillers all vying for attention on bookstore shelves.
The arrival of the eBook has done nothing to change this. A vast number of good, bad and frankly dreadful thrillers are available for Kindle, iPad and in PDF format. With so many books being released in eBook format, and so many authors self-publishing, making a decision about which titles to read often comes down to a matter of price. Fortunately there are many free or very cheap eBooks, and our top 10 list should help you decide which ones to spend time with.
“Danger Danger” by Gerry McCullough
Gerry McCullough’s second novel “Danger Danger” is now available from the Kindle Store for free, and features the often-used concept of twins separated at birth. Here though, the idea is brought up to date and given a criminal twist, leading the twin sisters Katie and Annie to deal with the consequences of their boyfriends’ dealing with crooks.
With a twisting, turning character-driven plot and the combination of a humdrum every day existence and one that regularly enjoys high art and the trappings of a Swiss bank account, the fact that this popular title is available free should send you scurrying for the Kindle Store right now.
“Last Flight Out Of Oz” by Adam & Richard Swenson
What happens when a recently bereaved professor decides to leave everything behind? Naturally, one of his students goes after him! But Kevin Morgan gets more than he bargained for when he encounters someone else concerned about Professor Weissman and finds himself plunged into an epic adventure with a romantic involvement with engineering expert Maggie Foster thrown in!
With the trail eventually leading to the Rockies, things suddenly turn on their head as this adventure thriller takes an interesting twist where nothing is quite what it seems…
Head on over to Smashwords where “Last Flight Out of Oz” is available for free.
“Never Buried” by Edie Claire
If you’re more interested in female protagonists, “Never Buried” – the story what happens when Leigh Koslow finds a corpse in a wardrobe – gives you not one, but three to admire. In time honoured tradition, the discovery of the corpse leads to further investigations that suggest that a suicide 50 years earlier could in fact have been murder… and that the killer is still on the loose!
Author Edie Claire is inspired by classic female detective writers such as Agatha Christie, Mary Stewart, and Barbara Michaels and it really shows in “Never Buried“, a mystery thriller that is funny and full of suspense.
Originally published in print in 1999, you can get this thrilling title for free for Kindle devices from Amazon.
“Yesterday’s Gone: Episode 1” by Sean Platt & David Wright
Released in a monthly, 100 page episodic format each month, “Yesterday’s Gone: Episode 1” starts the story with a horrifying fact – everyone on Earth has vanished.
Well, almost everyone. There remain a handful of people in a huge, empty world where the old rule of law has gone. One law has survived, however, the only law anyone is interested in: survival.
Written by Sean Platt and David Wright, the series kicks off with a thrilling scenario, introducing the characters and the idea that they just might not be as alone as they think…
As post-apocalyptic thrillers go, “Yesterday’s Gone” starts off in fine style. See for yourself by downloading from Smashwords today.
“Running Of The Bulls” by Christopher Smith
The second book in Christopher Smith’s “Fifth Avenue” Series, “Running of the Bulls” takes the simple idea of a fallen Wall Street giant fresh out of prison seemingly exacting revenge on those who put him there, and throws an interesting new spin on the idea.
Smith is a hugely popular author, regularly compared with James Patterson and Steven King and if you take a look at the way he paces his novels you can see why. Although a modicum of knowledge of first book in the series, “Fifth Avenue“, is required, you won’t lose anything by starting with “Running of the Bulls“, a great book which remarkably is available for free from the Kindle Store.
“The Turtle Boy” by Kealan Patrick Burke
You should never judge a book by its cover, and in this case don’t expect a children’s book based on the title. “The Turtle Boy“, by Kealan Patrick Burke, is book one of the Timmy Quinn series, and its plot – children in the late 70s happen across a large pond regularly visited by the mysterious and creepy Darryl – has echoes of early Stephen King.
Although not a full length novel, this novella is nevertheless an engaging read, although of course like all creepy thriller books you should probably avoid taking it to bed with you!
This award-winning (it won the Bram Stoker Award for Long Fiction in 2004) free book is a great introduction to Timmy Quinn, and you can pick it up from the Amazon website.
“Adventures of Sherlock Holmes” by Sir Arthur Conan-Doyle
There are few literary characters as recognizable as Sherlock Holmes, Sir Arthur Conan-Doyle’s legendary Victorian detective whose exploits regaled readers of Strand magazine in the late 19th century.
Here the short story adventures of the character – played on screen over the years by actors as illustrious as Basil Rathbone, Christopher Plummer and Robert Downey Jr, not to mention Benedict Cumberbatch on TV – can be enjoyed on your eReader without spending a dime.
Titles as famous as “A Scandal in Bohemia” are collected here, ready for you to pick up and read at your convenience. If you’ve never read Holmes but have always wanted to, this is the perfect starting point, and is available free from Barnes and Noble for Nook devices.
“When Danger Calls” by Terry Odell
Here’s a great thriller that throws together the quite different characters of single mom Frankie Castor and special operative Ryan Harper in a race against mercenaries and double agents to maintain the security of the USA.
Written by Terry Odell and available for Nook e-readers from Barnes and Noble for just 99c, “When Danger Calls” has got “feature film” written all over it, with action, adventure, and romance, set against the mountain backdrop of Montana.
You’ll have trouble putting this adventure thriller down, and while the author might consider it a “romantic suspense” this book has all of the trappings of a great thriller.
“Night Fighters” by Rob Smith
An unusual premise, “Night Fighters” tells the story of an extraordinary World War II weapon – a secret RAF squadron crewed by pilots with an unusual medical condition; one that allows them to see in the dark.
Blending World War II with the ages-old Vampire myth, “Night Fighters” is certainly more wartime thriller than it is vampire horror, but the trappings of both genres are present here. Released in November 2011, this is a popular book, highly regarded by all who have read it. Potentially the best title in this list, if you’re going to try any of these books, try “Night Fighters“.
Rob Smith’s novel has recently been made available for free to.
“Five Days In Summer” by Katia Lief
This is the sort of psychological thriller you can expect to find playing on satellite TV on an afternoon. Telling the story of a woman who suddenly vanishes on a trip to the local store and the retired FBI profiler who is charged with tracking her down, it soon becomes apparent that there is something else going on.
Emily Parker is not the true target; her young son is.
Katia Lief has constructed a true thriller, the sort of story that is next to impossible to put down. You will be drawn into the lives of her characters as you try and make sense of the plot, and you will love it!
At just 99c, Katia Lief’s “Five Days in Summer” can be purchased for the Nook eReader from Barnes and Noble.
A few years ago you would never think that such a great selection of books could be purchased for little or no expense – but thanks to Amazon, Smashwords and Barnes and Noble and the proliferation of eBook reading devices and apps for mobile phones, this paper-free way of reading has become a reality.
The thrillers listed here have been chosen based on their price and reputation among those that reviewed them, and while there is some bleeding of genres (particularly with the amazing “Night Fighters“) you’ll search the web long and hard before finding another collection of exciting, intriguing and action-packed books as these.